Court Stays Injunction Claim in Favour of Arbitration / Refuses to Consolidate Arbitration Proceedings Without Consent of All Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance0 Comments

In Loan Away Inc. v. Western Life Assurance Company, 2018 ONSC 7229, the plaintiff had an agreement with the defendant by which the plaintiff sold the defendant’s insurance policies in return for payments by the defendant.  The defendant ceased making payments and the plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant for an injunction to require the defendant to make the payments to the plaintiff and to prevent the defendant from terminating the insurance policies that the plaintiff had sold on the defendant’s behalf. The defendant relied upon an arbitration clause in its agreement with the plaintiff to stay the action.  The plaintiff argued, among other things, that the claim should not be stayed because the arbitration clause contained arbitration clause contained an exception for requests for a temporary restraining order or other forms of injunctive relief. The plaintiff argued that its request for a permanent injunction fell under the category … Read More

Real Estate Litigation: Failure to Give Extension of Closing Date is not Bad Faith

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Certificate of Pending Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The recent summary judgment motion decision in Time Development Group Inc. v. Bitton, 2018 ONSC 4384, involves a situation that arises quite often in failed closings of real estate transactions.  One of the main causes for an aborted real estate transaction is the failure of the purchaser to obtain the required financing to close on the transaction, possibly influenced by the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the new mortgage lending rules. In this case,  the plaintiff entered into an agreement to purchase three adjoining properties for a residential home redevelopment project.  There were a series of amendments to the agreement with the terms as follows: (a) purchase price of $10.55 million; (b) deposit of $500,000; (c) two vendor take back mortgages; and (d) closing date of July 31, 2017.  The plaintiff had secured a commitment letter to finance the transaction, however, six days before the closing date, the plaintiff was dismayed to find out that their financing had been withdrawn because the market conditions had changed.  … Read More

A Successful Constructive Dismissal Claim in Hagholm v. Coerio Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Employment, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal, Summary Judgment, Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee is indirectly and effectively dismissed from the position or terms he/she had previously agreed formed the employment. Without the consent of the employee, a substantial alteration is presented that fundamentally changes the terms of the agreed upon contract. Hagholm v. Coerio Inc. represents a successful claim for constructive dismissal. The respondent had entered into her employment on the understanding that she could work from home three days a week. When this condition was changed, the respondent claimed constructive dismissal and ceased coming to work. The Motion Judge, on a motion for summary judgment, found that there was constructive dismissal because this was an essential term and the appellant arbitrarily withheld a bonus from the respondent. The Court of Appeal also confirmed that the respondent was not required to mitigate her damages for the appellant’s breach of contract in these circumstances. Also in this case, the … Read More

When is Oral Evidence Required to Resolve Credibility Issues in Summary Judgment Motions?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2212886 Ontario Inc. v. Obsidian Group Inc., 2018 ONCA 670, involved the appeal of a partial summary judgment decision in a dispute between the franchisor and a franchisee of Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill.  In this case, the franchisee operated a Crabby Joe’s franchise for a year and a half prior to serving a notice of rescission of the franchise agreement on the franchisor. Claims The franchisee claimed that the disclosure document provided was materially deficient and it was entitled to rescind the franchise agreement within two years of execution of the franchise agreement under section 6(2) of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclousre), 2000 (“the Act”).   The franchisee claimed for rescission damages under section 6(6) of the Act and also damages for breach of contract and breach of the fair dealing obligations under the Act.  In response, the franchisor brought a counterclaim for a declaration that the franchise agreement was validly terminated and a … Read More

What Does the Illegal Substances Clause Mean in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Agents and Brokers, Appeals, Broker and Agent Claims, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

The Court of Appeal decision in Beatty v. Wei, 2018 ONCA 479, involved the failed closing of a residential property in Toronto and the proper interpretation of an illegal substances clause that is commonly found in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale. Illegal Substances Clause in OREA Agreement of Purchase and Sale In this case, about a month after entering into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the purchaser’s real estate agent discovered the property had been previously used as a marijuana grow-op in 2004.  The purchaser sought to terminate the agreement and demanded the return of the $30,000 deposit.  The sellers refused to terminate the agreement and commenced an application for a declaration that the purchaser breached the agreement by failing to close and an order that the sellers were entitled to the deposit and related damages.  In response, the purchaser commenced a competing application for similar relief. The dispute was in respect to … Read More

Court Considers Deemed Place of Contracting in Jurisdiction Analysis

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Forum Challenges, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Injunction & Specific Performance, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In We Serve Health Care LP v. Onasanya, 2018 ONSC 1758, the Applicant was a franchisor of home health care service providers.. The Applicant had its head office in Ontario and regional offices in various jurisdictions, including one in Saskatchewan.  The individual Respondent entered into a Franchise Agreement with the Applicant’s predecessor company granting her a license to operate a franchise in Saskatchewan.. She later assigned her rights under the Franchise Agreement to the corporation Respondent. The Applicant refused to renew the Franchise Agreement, resulting in a dispute.  The Applicant commenced an Application in Ontario for a declaration that the Franchise Agreement had expired and for a mandatory order that the Respondents comply with their post-expiry obligations under the Franchise Agreement. The Respondents brought a motion to stay the Application on the basis that the Ontario Court did not have jurisdiction.   The Applicant argued that the dispute was presumptively … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Effect of Nude Photos on Contractual “Morals Clause”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Brand Protection, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Entertainment and Media, Internet | Technology, Media Litigation0 Comments

In Zigomanis v. 2156775 Ontario Inc. (D’Angelo Brands), 2018 ONCA 116 (CanLII), the Defendant entered into a promotional contract with the Plaintiff, who was at the time a professional hockey player.  The contract contained a “morals clause”, stating that the Defendant could terminate the contract if the Plaintiff “commits any act which shocks, insults, or offends the community, or which has the effect of ridiculing public morals and decency.” The Defendant terminated the contract for an alleged breach of the morals clause: specifically, unknown persons published nude photographs of the Plaintiff on the internet.  The photos had originally been sent by the Plaintiff to his girlfriend, before he entered into the contract.  The Defendant argued that sending the nude photos violated the morals clause. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for wrongful termination of the contract.  The trial judge found, among other things, that the private transmission of nude photographs within … Read More

Court of Appeal Confirms Importance of Requisitions in Real Estate Transactions

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate Litigation, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Court of Appeal of Ontario decision in 1418885 Ontario Ltd. v. 2193139 Ontario Limited, 2018 ONCA 54, recently overturned a summary judgment motion decision which confirmed the importance of requisition letters in real estate transactions. In this case, the parties had entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a property with a restaurant, golf course, 12 residential apartments, a two-storey home and a banquet hall.  The Agreement of Purchase and Sale included the following requisition clause:    8.  TITLE SEARCH:  Buyer shall be allowed until 6:00 p.m. on the 30th day of May, 2016 (Requisition Date) to examine the title to the property at his own expense and until the earlier of: (i) thirty days from the later of the Requisition Date or the date on which the conditions in this Agreement are fulfilled or otherwise waived or, (ii) five days prior to completion, to satisfy himself that there are … Read More

Ontario Court Finds Jurisdiction Resulting From Cumulative Effect of Individually Insufficient Connecting Factors

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Forum Challenges, International Sale of Goods, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In Freshway Services Inc. v. CdEnviro Ltd., 2017 ONSC 6591, the plaintiff Ontario company contracted with the defendant Northern Irish company.  The defendant was to build a waste recycling facility and install it at the plaintiff’s facility in Ontario.  A third party to provide warranty coverage and servicing for components of the waste recycling plant, once it was built and delivered to Ontario.  A dispute arose between the parties, and the plaintiff sued the defendant in Ontario.  The defendant brought a motion to stay the Ontario action on the basis that Ontario lacked jurisdiction. The motion judge considered the the presumptive connecting factors for jurisdiction set out by the Supreme Court in Club Resorts Ltd. v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, being whether the contract was made in the Ontario: whether the defendant was carrying on actual business in Ontario; whether the defendant is resident in Ontario; or where the … Read More

Construction Heavy Machinery & Equipment Disputes

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Construction | Builders, Construction Equipment & Machinery, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Distributors | Dealers, Heavy Industries, Heavy Machinery Disputes, Injunction & Specific Performance, Sale of Goods, Trucking and Transportation0 Comments

We have experience and can act in matters relating to construction heavy machinery and equipment. Disputes often arise in connection with the purchase and sale, leasing, financing, use or operation of construction heavy machinery.  Sometimes disputes arise in relation to ownership or possession of  construction heavy equipment. We set out below some of the common types of disputes arising in relation to construction heavy equipment. Types of Disputes Common disputes include those related to: purchase and sale, pre-sale representations, warranties, damaged equipment, sale by auction, shipping heavy machinery and equipment, damages, loss and collapse, hire-purchase disputes, ownership and possession, and repossession by court order. Types of Construction Equipment A vast array of construction equipment is deployed in modern construction projects.  Some construction companies lease and others purchase. Some have only occasional need for some construction heavy equipment. Typical construction heavy equipment and machinery includes: Backhoe loaders, breakers, bulldozers, chippers, compactors, concrete plants and pumps, conveyors, … Read More

Partnership Disputes & Joint Venture Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for partners in small and mid-sized partnerships, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and contractual parties and partners in joint ventures. Partnership Disputes Partnership is a relationship between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit, which is not a corporation. It is one of the most commonly used business associations for small and medium-sized business. A partnership can be created at law and the Partnerships Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.5 sets out rules for determining existence of partnership, though commonly the parties enter into a partnership agreement. Joint Venture – Is it a Partnership? Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some … Read More

Court of Appeal Upholds Stay Based on Contractual Choice of Forum/Arbitration Clause Against Non-Contracting Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation0 Comments

In Novatrax International Inc. v. Hägele Landtechnik GmbH, 2016 ONCA 771, the plaintiff and the defendant Hägele were parties to an Exclusive Sales Agreement (“ESA”).  Hägele terminated the ESA.  The plaintiff sued Hägele, its individual principals and Cleanfix, a North American company related to Hägele. The defendants collectively moved to stay the Plaintiff’s claim, relying on a forum selection clause in the ESA which stated: “The contractual parties agree that German law is binding and to settle any disputes by a binding arbitration through the “Industrie und Handelskammer” (Chamber of Commerce) in Frankfurt.” The motion judge granted the stay, despite the fact that only Hägele, and not the other defendants, was a party to the ESA. The plaintiff appealed on two grounds: that the motion judge erred in i) interpreting the scope of the forum selection clause and ii) staying the action against the defendants who were not party to the … Read More

Business Dirty Tricks: Unfair Competition: Intentional Interference, Inducing Breach of Contract, Conspiracy and Defamation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorAppropriation of Personality, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Sometimes businesses and their stakeholders act wrongfully in seeking to advance their interests and / or harm competitors. There are often reports of the “dirty tricks” used by those in business to seek to destroy, defeat or diminish the effectiveness of a competitor. These are often unethical tactics, but sometimes such conduct is also wrongful and has been recognized by the common law as actionable in the courts for damages or injunctive or other urgent equitable relief, or prohibited by a statute which provides for a civil monetary remedy or grounds for an injunction. These causes of action have been recognized and provide the basis of lawsuits for harm, loss and damage, and in suitable circumstances, grounds for an immediate injunction or mandatory order prohibiting the further commission of the wrongful acts. In short, wrongful intentional acts causing harm, loss or damage to businesses or their stakeholders may give rise to a cause of action in common law business torts (the so-called … Read More

Court Stays Arbitration but Denies Costs to Successful Party for “Blameworthy Conduct”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

In Gorman v Kosowan, 2016 ONSC 5085, the applicant commenced a proceeding regarding a business dispute. The applicant and individual respondent were joint owners of a transportation and warehouse business.  A dispute arose between them.   The respondents subsequently terminated the applicant’s employment and excluded him from the business.  The applicant sought relief from the allegedly oppressive conduct under the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Ontario Business Corporations Act.  The respondents brought a motion to stay the oppression application based on an arbitration clause in the parties’ Unanimous Shareholders’ Agreement (“USA”). The USA arbitration clause required arbitration for “disputes under” the USA. The Judge found that the applicant’s claims were covered by the arbitration clause and granted the respondents’ motion to stay the application. In the Judge’s subsequent costs decision, here, the Judge denied the respondents’ request for costs of the motion.  While a winning party is typically entitled to its costs … Read More

Court of Appeal Provides Guidance on “Forum of Necessity” Doctrine

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Arsenault v. Nunavut, 2016 ONCA 207, the Plaintiff commenced a lawsuit in Ontario regarding an employment dispute with the defendant, the government of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.  The motion judge concluded that Ontario did not have jurisdiction over the dispute because the dispute did not have a “real and substantial connection” with the province of Ontario, and that Nunavut was clearly the more appropriate forum to hear the dispute.  The Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the motion judge had not properly considered whether Ontario was the “forum of necessity” – i.e. the doctrine allowing the Court to assume jurisdiction over a dispute, even though there is no “real and substantial connection” with Ontario, because there is no other forum in which the plaintiff can reasonably seek relief (see our previous posts regarding the doctrine of “forum of necessity” here and here). The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal.  The Court of Appeal noted … Read More

Partnership and Contractual Disputes between Professionals (Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects, Engineers)

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Injunction & Specific Performance, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professions0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Lastly, some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact … Read More

David Alderson, Panelist on Law Society of Upper Canada Annotated Partnership Agreement 2015 CDP

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, International Joint Venture, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

David Alderson, of Gilbertson Davis LLP, will be a panelist at the Law Society of Upper Canada Continuing Professional Development program, The Annotated Partnership Agreement 2015, on September 29, 2015 (alternate date, November 20, 2015) on the panel entitled “Review of the Differences (Legal and Drafting) Between a Partnership and a Joint Venture – Understanding the Significant Consequences”. Moderator of the panel (and Chair of the program) is Alison Manzer, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and co-panelist is Sunita Doobay, TaxChambers LLP. David Alderson, LL.B (Osgoode), LL.M (Lond.) is a commercial litigator with Toronto insurance and commercial litigation firm Gilbertson Davis LLP. He holds a Master of Laws degree in commercial and corporate law and has been admitted to practice in England & Wales, Bermuda and New York State, as well as Ontario. David has practised local law in England, Bermuda, Dubai and Ontario, in diverse business and commercial litigation practice … Read More